Unfortunat ely, the article on Myrtle Rust in the December issue of Indigenotes was very timely with the rust being first detected in Victoria in late December 2011. Since mid 2010 this fungus, originating in South America, has spread throughout the east coast of Australia from a location in northern NSW. It attacks a wide range of hosts in the family Myrtaceae, including gum trees, bottlebrushes and tea-trees.
As of 10 February, DPI had confirmed 23 outbreaks, mainly in wholesale nurseries. These have mostly been on cultivars of non-indigenous trees however it is likely that the disease will spread to susceptible local plants in gardens and bushland. DPI is still in a ‘containment’ phase that aims to slow the spread of the disease.
Please, IFFA folk,
Keep abreast of developments by visiting DPI websites Understand how to avoid spreading the disease. Humans and their activities have been instrumental in accelerating the spread of Myrtle Rust.
Most importantly, share what you learn with colleagues and anyone else who wants to give our gumtrees and bottlebrushes, tea-trees and paperbarks their best chance of survival.
Information and links to identification and notification: http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/forestry/pests-diseases-weeds/diseases/myrtle-rust